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Photo by PoPville flickr user Carly & Art

Ed. Note: Whatever your feelings, please be respectful today.

Marion Barry (March 6, 1936 – November 23, 2014)

From United Medical Center:

“The following statement is issued following the death of Councilmember Marion Barry, Former Mayor of the District of Columbia.

“This morning we are sad to announce the passing of the Honorable Marion S. Barry, Former Mayor and Councilmember of the District of Columbia. Mr. Barry was brought to United Medical Center by ambulance at 12:15am. He was pronounced dead at 1:46am.

United Medical Center’s Board and Staff extend its condolences to Mr. Barry’s family, his wife Cora Barry, his son Christopher Barry, and many other relatives. We also extend our sympathy to the residents of the District of Columbia.

Mr. Barry has had a long history of social and political engagement in the District and across the nation. His advocacy on behalf of the poor, the less fortunate and others will certainly be missed.

Over the years, Councilmember Barry has maintained a strong and heartfelt resolve to keep United Medical Center open for the people east of the Anacostia River. Without his involvement and continued work on our behalf we are certain that this hospital would not be where it is today.

Mr. Barry taught us all so much about fighting for justice; fighting for the people; fighting for the poor – it now becomes our responsibility to keep his legacy alive.

May he rest in peace.”

From Mayor Gray’s office:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning of the passing of Ward 8 Councilmember and former Mayor Marion Barry. Mayor Gray spoke with former First Lady Cora Masters Barry late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her, and as well said his thoughts and prayers were with the Councilmember’s son, Christopher.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” said Mayor Gray. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Councilmember Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”

From @MurielBowser:

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mayor Marion Barry”

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Statement by the President on the Passing of Marion Barry:

“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Marion Barry. Marion was born a sharecropper’s son, came of age during the Civil Rights movement, and became a fixture in D.C. politics for decades. As a leader with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Marion helped advance the cause of civil rights for all. During his decades in elected office in D.C., he put in place historic programs to lift working people out of poverty, expand opportunity, and begin to make real the promise of home rule. Through a storied, at times tumultuous life and career, he earned the love and respect of countless Washingtonians, and Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathies to Marion’s family, friends and constituents today.”

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“Dear PoPville,

My friend Richard and I came across a old milk bottle labelled “Thompson’s Dairy 2012 11th St NW”

It got us curious about the Dairy and the area itself during that time period.

As we did some research we met some great people and found out some interesting facts about the Dairy and what life was like back then.

We decided to put together a little documentary:

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1704 U Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

You shared the great news yesterday that Henry’s is reopening soon, but I didn’t know if you were aware that Henry himself passed away just last month.

My dad and his friends were close with Henry and his crew in the ’70s, and I’ve heard many fantastic stories. It’s a great loss for this city.”

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From Henry’s Soul Cafe Facebook page:

The District’s legendary “King of Soul Food” Henry Smith, died Friday, October 10, at the age of 73.

His world-renowned Washington establishment, Henry’s Carry-out & Delicatessen, has drawn celebrities, politicians, tourists and locals alike to enjoy its famed soul food for more than 45 years.

Smith, opened the U Street restaurant in 1968, featuring Southern cooking staples like fried chicken, barbeque ribs and collard greens. However, it was best known as the “Home of the Sweet Potato Pie,” having served its famous dessert to every District of Columbia Mayor since Walter Washington and even United States President’s Clinton and Obama.

“Today I lost my father, but D.C. has lost a legend,” said Jermaine Smith, son of Henry Smith.” During the 1968 riots, Henry and his brother sat in the window of his “then” new business armed with a shotgun and a bible. His restaurant was one of the few businesses that remained unscathed during the historic incident.

Henry’s Smith’s legacy continues today with his son and daughter at the helm of the original Henry’s at 17th& U Street as well as operating several other locations in the Washington Metropolitan area.

The Mysterious, Abandoned Silos of Washington, DC from PBS Digital Studios on Vimeo.

Thanks to all who sent links to this video:

“The McMillan Sand Filtration Site is one of Washington, DC’s most conspicuous mysteries: a fenced-off 25-acre grassy plain just over 2 miles north of Capitol Hill, marked by rows of tall concrete cylinders clothed in overgrown ferns. Unbeknownst to the thousands of commuters and residents that pass by its rusted gates daily, below this sprawling parcel of land lies a series of vast underground caverns built in the early 20th century by the Army Corps of Engineers as a natural purification facility for DC’s turbid water supply.

Sealed to the public at the onset of World War II, the park above the filtration cells has been inaccessible ever since. Now, almost 30 years since its official closure, the site – a curious holdout among DC’s recent wave of rapid urban development – has become the subject of a widespread debate over its future use.”

Ed. Note: You can see some renderings for the planned new development here.

Bygone Brookland, written by Robert Malesky, takes a historical look at the neighborhood of Brookland and surrounding environs. Robert, a former producer for NPR, is the author of the photographic history The Catholic University of America for Arcadia Publishing.

It’s Homecoming weekend at The Catholic University of America, and it got me thinking about a previous homecoming, back when I was a student. I was a freshman in the prehistoric days of 1967, when fraternities and the Greek system were not as strong as they once had been. I and many of my friends were not much interested in joining a frat, but we did want to join in some of the traditional Homecoming activities, like building a float for the parade in the stadium. A small group of us managed to finagle permission to participate as Independents, so then we needed to build a float.

We decided that if we could get a big barrel, we could mount wheels on it, decorate it, and use that in the parade. So a couple of us went to the Heckman’s pickle factory, which nestled right against the railroad tracks at 811 Monroe Street (behind what is now the Byte Back house on 9th St.).

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acob Heckman immigrated from Russia and started the Heckman Products Corporation in 1919. At first located on Rhode Island Avenue, Heckman’s moved to Brookland in 1941, and was the only pickle factory in DC. They supplied Giant, Safeway, and all the other local food stores with good, fresh pickles: Tiny-Tot Sweet Gherkins, Kosher Kukumbers, Cheese and Cracker pickles, Cocktail Onions and dozens of other types.

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Inside the factory, the pungent aroma of vinegar and pickling spices could almost knock you over, but the ladies working the line weren’t bothered by it. Heckman’s didn’t manufacture the pickles in big vats as was the norm, instead preparing them in the small jars that would go on store shelves. At its peak Heckman’s was producing 100,000 bushels of pickles a year. It was a Brookland institution. After watching the production line for a while, we bought a barrel ($5, if I remember right), hosed it out in the back, then rolled it back to the dorm.

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An aerial shot from the early 1960s that shows the Heckman factory.
Courtesy Catholic University of America Archives.

WMATA bought the property where the factory stood and in 1973 Heckman’s was forced to move as Metro needed to alter the track bed and shrink the lot in order to make way for the Brookland Metro stop. Heckman’s moved to Prince George’s County, and their ads continued to appear until the early 1980s when they seemed to disappear. But fortunately, Heckman’s is not entirely gone. Members of the Heckman family opened Heckman’s Delicatessen in Bethesda earlier this year. From all reports it’s one of the best Kosher delis in the area. I may have to go there for some pickles one of these days.

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Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Vincent C. Gray offered his condolences to the family of Benjamin C. Bradlee, longtime Georgetown resident, legendary journalist, and distinguished editor of The Washington Post.

“Ben Bradlee was a lion in the field of journalism. He was a fearless champion of the First Amendment and government accountability and will go down in history as one of the all-time greats,” said Mayor Gray. “The District of Columbia was lucky to have him at the helm of our paper of record, The Washington Post, for so many groundbreaking years. Both our city and the country benefitted from his astute handling of such historic events as Watergate and the release of the Pentagon Papers. I send my sincere condolences to his family, including his wife, children, his former colleagues at the Post and the entire journalism community that benefited from his life’s work.”

From the Washington National Cathedral:

“Washington National Cathedral announced today that it will hold the funeral service for Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. The former editor of the Washington Post was an iconic figure in journalism over the last half century.

The service will be open to the public.”

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Photo via National Park Service

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking with a friend in Meridian Hill Park yesterday and noticed a small detail in a photo of a globe sculpture at the bottom of the park. I found a photo online that more clearly shows the globe sculpture.

However, that sculpture is no longer there, instead replaced buy a big spherical bush. Upon further investigation, it appears the pedestal is still there, in the center of the bush, but there is no sculpture.

In searching for other photos of it, I found a blog of a amateur history sleuth who has tried to track it down. The sphere was the “Armillary Sphere” and is a bit of a mystery. Apparently it was damaged in the 1960s and removed for repairs, but it’s whereabouts is unknown to the Smithsonian or National Park Service (rather amazing for a 16 foot sculpture).

Anyway, I’m not sure if there is much more than can be found out about this mystery, but I’d be fascinated if anyone knew more about it. What happened to it? Was it relocated? Stolen? Damaged?”

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801 K Street, NW Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassett|PHOTOGRAPHY

From a press release:

“In response to today’s decision by Events DC and the International Spy Museum to cancel their plans for a relocation of the Spy Museum to Mt. Vernon Square, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (HSW) wishes to clarify that this will in no way effect the continuation of the Society’s current programming and public use of the Carnegie Library. The Society looks forward to working with its main partner, Events DC, with our neighbors (old and new), and with the growing portfolio of community partners to create a new vision for Mt Vernon Square. Regardless of what the vision may include, the Society reaffirms to the local community that the Carnegie Library will continue to serve as home to its exhibit galleries, Kiplinger Research Library, historic collections, and offices well into the future.

The Historical Society has 85 years remaining on our lease at the Carnegie Library,” said Julie Koczela, Chair of the Society’s Board of Trustees. “This building has a magnificent history that fits perfectly with our mission and provides the Society with a central base to operate our library as we to continue to develop exhibits and programs that are free and open to the public. We intend to remain at the Carnegie Library as Events DC explores a restoration strategy for this beloved historical building.” (more…)

From the Library of Congress:

“We hustled the reel up to the film lab where it was prepped and cleaned for Datacine Operator Pat Kennedy to make the digital transfer; we’re photochemically preserving it on safety film stock as well. After the Senators story was excerpted and speed-corrected, I sent it pianist/Nats fan Andrew Simpson for musical scoring. Perhaps more footage will eventually turn up, but for now we’re thrilled to present the 1924 World Series champion Washington Senators in hopes that what’s past truly is prologue.

LET’S GO NATS!”